Towson scored a tournament-record 39 points off free throws as JMU fell 80-71 in the quarterfinal round of the Colonial Athletic Association Men’s Basketball Championship Saturday night in the Baltimore Arena.
Second-seeded Towson (23-9, 14-3 CAA) won its seventh game in a row to advance to the semifinals of the tournament, where it will play the winner between third-seeded William and Mary and No. 6 College of Charleston. JMU finished its season at 11-20 overall.
The game included CAA Tournament and JMU opponent records for team free throws (Towson 39) and team free throw attempts (61). JMU tied tournament and program records for personal fouls committed with 37 and the teams set a tournament record for combined personal fouls (62). The Tigers made more free throws than they attempted field goals (33) and attempted just 12 field goals in the second half while going 27-for-42 from the line in the period.
JMU’s three sophomore guards each scored in double figures with Andre Nation (Plant City, Fla./Faith Baptist Christian) leading the way with 18 points and five rebounds. Charles Cooke (Trenton, N.J./Trenton Catholic) added 14 points and five rebounds while Ron Curry (Pennsauken, N.J./Paul VI) added 13 points, five rebounds and five assists. With all of the foul problems, freshman forward Paulius Satkus (Raudondvaris, Lithuania/Barking Abbey (England)) stepped up with career highs of eight points, seven rebounds and 21 minutes played.
Four McGlynn led four Towson players in double figures with 21 points on 4-for-5 shooting from the arc and 9-for-10 at the stripe. CAA Player of the Year Jerrelle Benimon added to his national lead in double-doubles with 18 points and 10 rebounds while going 12-for-21 at the line, one shy of the JMU opponent record for individual free throw attempts in a game. Mike Burwell added 17 points and Marcus Damas chipped in with 14.
The teams combined for 70 free throw attempts in the second half alone. Towson shot 49 percent from the floor on 16-for-33 shooting and went 9-for-16 (56 percent) from the arc. JMU shot 37 percent from the field (20-for-54) but hit just three of its 20 attempts from the arc (15 percent). The Dukes claimed a 40-26 advantage in rebounds while leading Towson 30-14 in points in the paint and 16-1 in second-chance points.
JMU trailed 34-27 at the half and kept the margin between eight and 12 points for the first nine minutes of the second half. Both teams had field goal droughts of over five minutes early in the second half and had just five combined field goals in the first eight minutes as the fouls piled up.
Towson finally gained some distance as McGlynn and Burwell connected on 3-pointers to extend the margin to 58-43 for the largest lead of the game at the 9:47 mark.
JMU still managed to fight back, cutting it to eight points again at the 6:22 mark on a Satkus jumper and making it a six-point game at 61-55 on free throws by graduate forward Andrey Semenov (St. Petersburg, Russia/Blue Ridge School) with 5:36 remaining.
However, Damas came up with the answer with a huge three-point play in the paint and McGlynn followed a JMU miss with two free throws to push it back to 11 points at 66-55. The Dukes cut back to six but not until the final minute of play as Towson hit free throws to finish the 80-71 triumph.
Towson jumped out to an 18-10 lead in the first nine minutes thanks to 4-for-6 shooting from the arc. A steal and slam by Parker-Rivera extended it to a 10-point margin at 22-12 and the lead reached as large as 13 at 29-16 at the six-minute mark.
Despite foul trouble for five players, the Dukes had a final push in the half, scoring 11 of the final 16 points including a stretch of nine of 11 points by Nation. A 3-pointer by Nation with 39 seconds remaining cut it to 34-27. After a defensive stop, Curry’s 45-footer at the buzzer narrowly bounced off the rim to keep the margin at seven at the break.
Towson shot 43 percent in the half, including 4-for-8 from the arc, while also going 12-for-19 at the line to take advantage of the JMU foul trouble. The Dukes shot 38 percent overall, including a 1-for-9 mark at the arc. Despite the deficit, JMU enjoyed a 22-10 advantage on rebounds.
Nation led all players with 10 points in the half. Burwell had nine points for the Tigers in the half with Benimon adding eight and Damas seven.
NOTES: JMU enjoyed its largest rebounding margin of the season (40-26) against a team that it was outrebounded against 42-29 just 10 days prior… the 22-10 halftime rebounding margin for JMU was also its best of the season… the three offensive rebounds by Towson matched the fewest for a JMU opponent this season (W&M Feb. 2)… it was JMU’s 10th game of 40 or more rebounds this year… the Dukes finished with 10 games of 40 rebounds or more after having six in the last two seasons combined… Semenov finished as JMU’s career games record holder with 132… he also finished 18th in career points (1,203), sixth in 3-pointers (168), eighth in three-point attempts (.381), fifth in blocks (102) and ninth in minutes (3,320)… JMU’s 31 games played in the season were sixth most in program history… the game included five total players fouled out with four by JMU as well as an additional six players with four fouls.